iconsys, a leading independent UK based systems integrator with nearly two decades of experience and knowledge delivering turnkey power solutions into the marine industry, and its partners, have been awarded a grant of nearly £1.7million by the Department for Transport, for the next stage of development of a shore power system that aims to eliminate the operation of on-board diesel engines while its ships are discharging marine aggregates.

Following the success of initial paper-based feasibility studies, iconsys is working in partnership with University of Warwick and global building materials supplier CEMEX, to deliver an intelligently managed shore power system demonstrator, specifically tailored to understand self-discharging commercial vessel’s demanding electrical load fluctuations. It will incorporate battery energy storage and solar photovoltaic energy generation, plus integrated hardware-in-the-loop simulation to both virtually expand the capability of the system and validate modelling software predictions.

The demonstrator will deliver constant power to the vessel alongside, after discharge at 250kW, whilst simulating the full dynamic discharge cycle (1.5MW) alongside the berth. The model enables the innovative, dynamic, multi-objective energy management system to maximise the use of lower-carbon electricity, minimising the use of engines alongside.

This stage of the project will take place at Cemex’s wharf in Shoreham, Brighton & Hove, which will better allow Cemex to manage the impact of the demonstrator on its operations. Additionally, it aligns with Shoreham Port’s wider sustainability goals and efforts to create a credible and measurable Local Industrial Decarbonisation Plan.

Work will start on this stage of the project in April, with 12 months allowed for installation and demonstration of the system to be completed and the results shared with stakeholders from the industry and Department for Transport.

Jordan Tassell, Head of Marine & Ports for iconsys, commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity to progress towards a demonstration of the smart shore power system, a cutting-edge solution that goes beyond the standard. The aim is to offer key functionality and benefits that will support uptake within the maritime sector and drive the future of vessel connectivity.

“iconsys is driven by the ambition to develop our specialised skillset in this domain, leveraging this demonstration project as a strategic platform. Our commitment is not just limited to system integration; we aim to detail, design, and manufacture a solution that sets a benchmark in efficiency and reliability. This venture aligns with our broader vision of pushing the boundaries of innovation and playing a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of smart, connected ports and vessels."

Laurence Dagley, Operational Excellence and Business Development Director for Cemex West Europe materials commented: “Our initial feasibility study for this shore power system identified an opportunity to save a significant amount of CO2 during each dredger discharge, while also improving local air quality at the port itself. We are therefore pleased to have received this funding to progress to the next stage of the project and undertake on-site demonstration.

“The timings for this stage are tight but the potential benefits are considerable, as it will allow us to gain real experience of all the hardware, in a real environment, whilst being able to study full scale operation and quantify the benefits. Utilising the Cemex Go Innovation, already the newest and most advanced aggregates dredger in the industry, this will be the first dredger in the UK to be shore powered and marks an exciting progression in our efforts to decarbonise.”

Dr Andrew McGordon, Reader in the Energy Applications Group at WMG, University of Warwick commented “This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the learnings form the feasibility study using an innovative mix of real and virtual hardware, to understand the operational challenges of decarbonising this sector whilst developing state of the art energy management strategies to maximise CO2 emissions savings.”

This project is part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC4), funded by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by Innovate UK. CMDC4 is part of the Department’s UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme, a £206m initiative focused on developing the technology necessary to decarbonise the UK domestic maritime sector.